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The Ground Beneath My Feet: a Fear of the Unknown

The Ground Beneath My Feet: a Fear of the Unknown

I was 13 when I had my first panic attack, though I didn’t know what it was then. I was at a café in Biarritz when I got a chicken bone lodged in my throat. My entire body went white hot; I became convinced I was going to die. The blood drained to my feet, every bit of me screamed to get outside, so I walked around the block eating yoghurt until the fear drained away. When we got back to New Zealand, the same white heat would flow through my body again whenever we would go to a café or restaurant. I had to give myself ‘outs.’ Sit facing the door. Don’t order food....
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How Couples Counselling Deals With Affairs

How Couples Counselling Deals With Affairs

As part of the BACP (British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy) requirements for Continuous Professional Development, I recently attended a training course on Affairs and their impact on the couple relationship. It was a fascinating course with therapists from different cultures, training and moral values. Affairs are always a controversial subject, often touching both therapists and clients deeply and on a personal level. A quarter of couples coming for relationship counselling present an extramarital affair as their reason for seeking counselling. A...
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How Empathy Can Advance Your Career

How Empathy Can Advance Your Career

Empathy can work for you, at work.  By putting yourself in the shoes of a prospective employer, your colleague or your boss, you can find more positive ways of responding to challenges. Here are three scenarios where empathy made a real difference. The ‘difficult’ boss Clare, a senior manager, was tearing her hair out trying to please her line manager (a female, board level executive). Clare felt her boss undermined her constantly, by challenging every detail of her plans and reports, and wanting reasons (in writing) for every decision. Clare was on the brink of...
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How to Meditate: Discovering Headspace

How to Meditate: Discovering Headspace

In his book Headspace: 10 Minutes Can Make All The Difference, Andy Puddicombe writes: "This is meditation, but not as you know it. There's no chanting, no sitting cross-legged, no need for any particular beliefs… and definitely no gurus." This, then, is  Meditation 2.0,  aiming to free the practice from its hippy associations . Puddicombe is mindfulness's first poster boy, a former monk and  circus trainer, who boasts good bone structure and an Abercrombie & Fitch dress sense. The New York Times has already suggested he is "doing for meditation what Jamie...
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What I Would Tell the Younger Me

What I Would Tell the Younger Me

I can see my younger self through the years: the chubby, shy  teenager, the employee in a new job determinedly trying to work out how to make myself a good journalist but no less important, how to be liked. The young adult wondering if I would meet a man with whom I might make a family, and tremblingly uncertain that any man who I wanted would want me . Then there’s the woman in her 40s with a partner, a home, children, a job she cherished and yet was still beset by uncertainties, the feeling that she had not done well enough , hadn’t achieved as others had or seized...
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What is Yin Yoga?

What is Yin Yoga?

The American cartoonist Scott Adams once observed, “There are two types of yoga: the kind that hurts like crazy, and the kind that looks like you’re sleeping.” Yin yoga definitely falls into the latter camp.
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What To Do When a Friend Dies

What To Do When a Friend Dies

I have lost a dear, old friend. And as my mother said, “you don’t find new old friends”. What can you do when a friend dies? We were probably never very obvious soulmates – Georgina Henry was intensely political, I spent years working on glossy magazines. But over the last 20 years we became very close, and she was one of the few people I felt safe sharing my secrets and vulnerabilities, disappointments and dreams with. As well as lots of laughs, gossip and shopping expeditions. Two years ago George was diagnosed with cancer of the sinus. Treatment was brutal...
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Are You in a Relationship With a Narcissist?

Are You in a Relationship With a Narcissist?

All of us can be selfish at times, but some of us are selfish all of the time! There’s nothing wrong with a little ‘me-time’, but some people are so self-preoccupied that they're unable to form healthy relationships. If that sounds like your partner, you may be in a relationship with a narcissist. Narcissists, in bygone days called megalomaniacs or severely egocentric, are people who spend the entire time wrapped up in themselves. Narcissism occurs in a spectrum of severity. In its more extreme form it is narcissistic personality disorder (NPD), which affects...
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