Counselling In Somerset

October 24, 2020
by Lyns77
3 Comments

‘Well at least you don’t have…’

Why empathy not Sympathy?

How can we support others when they are in pain? So often when we are feeling down, someone – usually with really good intentions – may say ‘well at least you haven’t got A, B or C…’ More often than this, it’s what we can tell ourselves. ‘Oh, stop wallowing – at least I’ve got a roof over my head!’

Whilst it may be true that you do have a roof over your head – does it mean that the pain you are experiencing is any less valid? Any less painful or confusing?

Pain is relative to the person. In our quest to help someone we love to feel better; this need to rescue them and to take their pain away is strong. This is when it can lead to us using this dismissive language.

Have you ever done this and then felt a knot in your stomach or thought ‘I shouldn’t have said that’? Or as you have said it you see that slight flicker from the other person? Has the other person become angry or more upset?

What should we do?

How can we reframe the language that we use to do what we intended it to do in the first place?

  1. Acknowledge the pain felt
  2. Appreciate their (or your) experience.
  3. Change the way that you begin your response
  4. If you don’t know how to respond – simply be honest but recognise their emotions without needing to minimise them.
  5. Show compassion

Brené Brown speaks about how to be more empathic with ourselves and with others. She points out that ‘never did an empathic sentence start with ‘at least…’. Instead, Brené encourages you to think about different responses. For example, ‘It sounds like you are in a hard place now. Tell me more about it.’

Empathy can take time to learn, especially when culturally, many are conditioned with automatic responses such as ‘Don’t worry’ or ‘I’m sure it’s not that bad’. Our need to help others feel better can lead to feeling panicked and wanting to help as quickly as possible.

I know exactly how you feel…

Have you ever said to someone who has recently lost a person they cared for and said, ‘I know exactly how you feel?’ What was their response to you? Quite often it’s anger or frustration, or they may just zone out.

The thing is, we don’t know exactly how another person feels. We may be able to relate to how they feel if we have experienced a similar loss. But we need to remember that we all experience the world in a different way.  When pain is raw – hearing those words can just feel dismissive and hurtful.

I’ve no doubt that when most people say these things, it’s coming from a good place, and it’s a response to their pain – to help lessen it. But understanding empathy can help you provide the support that you want to.

‘Rarely can a response make something better. What makes something better is connection’. (Brené Brown, 2013)

It helps others to know that they are not alone, without dismissing their experience or their feelings. There is no shame in feeling upset, angry, frustrated or worried. They are real emotions. Sitting with someone as they talk about these things shows compassion.

The more we give and receive empathy and compassion, the more we will all be able to open up without shame or worry.

Have a listen to this short animation of Brené Browns talk on Empathy. It’s a great visual to demonstrate what Brené is saying. 

Lynsey

October 2020

June 15, 2020
by Lyns77
0 comments

Loneliness Awareness Week

This week is Loneliness Awareness Week, hosted by Bristol based charity Marmalade Trust. The charity, alongside others, aim to raise awareness, and reduce the stigma around loneliness.

Photo by Steven HWG on Unsplash

With the recent Covid-19 outbreak, those experiencing loneliness may have felt increasingly isolated. Recognising the work of the Marmalade Trust and getting people to talk about loneliness is particularly crucial at this time.

What they do:

Through a referral network they identify those who are lonely & support them to connect with others and their local community.

They actively raise awareness with the goal to increase discussion, remove stigma and to reach out to those who are lonely.

Alongside the Loneliness Awareness Week, they also hold a Christmas Day Lunch.

As part of their ongoing support during the Covid-19 pandemic they also launched ‘Marmalade Companions’ where they have a number of volunteers who a part of a telephone befriending project.

They ‘provide a vital link between lonely people and the communities and resources that can help them’.

What can I do?

Although this charity is based around the Bristol area, there are things that you can do within your own community.

There may be befriending charities already set up. Organisations such as The Salvation Army often support isolated people. If you have time, get involved, or, of you know somebody who is isolated, pass them the details.

If you know of elderly people who live alone, check in on them, find out whether there are community based activities within your local area that they could attend.

Volunteer some of your time if you are able to – help to raise awareness, get involved with charity fundraisers!

What if you are feeling lonely?

If you are feeling lonely there are ways that you can reach out to others.

Join an online forum, there are so many online groups now. You may not just want to focus on Loneliness-based groups, you may want to join a hobby-based group such as rambling / cross stitch / healthy lifestyle / fitness / illness or disability support networks.

Get in touch with the Local church / Salvation Army / Volunteer groups within your community. You can find lists of these in the Local Pages, or online – for example on your GP’s website, Local Council website.

Try to reach out, talk to someone, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Life can feel so lonely at times. You may have lost a loved one, become separated or divorced, or moved to a new area. Things happen in life, and our situations can change rapidly. There’s no shame in feeling lovely, so let’s help to remove the stigma.

Contact Details

Website: https://marmaladetrust.org/

Email:  info@marmaladetrust.org

Telephone: 07566 244 788

May 26, 2020
by Lyns77
0 comments

Let’s get talking about… mental health

The rise in acceptance and normalisation of talking about mental health over the past few years has been very welcomed. Removing the stigma of mental ill health has undoubtedly helped many.

There have been some great high-profile campaigns and initiatives such as Heads Together www.headstogether.org.uk. This has been led by the Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and The Duke and Duchess of Sussex. It’s a coalition of mental health charities who have come together to campaign for people to speak out about their mental health problems and not be fearful of prejudice. Some include The Mental Health at Work gateway and Mentally Healthy Schools.

‘Through our work with young people, emergency response, homeless charities, and with veterans, we have seen time and time again that unresolved mental health problems lie at the heart of some of our greatest social challenges’. (Taken from www.headstogether.org.uk/about)

counsellinginsomerset.co.uk

What Help is Available?

Another is ‘Time to Change’ www.time-to-change.org.uk. This is a growing social movement who encourage a change in the way that mental health problems are thought about. They work hard to help bring about an end to discrimination by encouraging people to talk about it & to remove the fear of being treated differently.

Mind is a fantastic mental health charity who provide advice and support to those in need. They regularly campaign to raise awareness and improve services. They work nationally and locally through Local Minds. Their website is an amazing tool where you can find information as well as support services for various mental health topics. (www.mind.org.uk)

Young Minds is a UK charity which focuses on working with children and young people. They campaign for increased awareness and to fight discrimination. YoungMinds provide advice and support for children and young people. However, they also provide guidance for parents / carers and professionals. They run courses on various mental health topics including adolescent mental health and self-harm. (www.youngminds.org.uk)

My Feelings..

There have been clear improvements with how we view mental health. The stigma attached to it is softening, but it does remain an issue. Mental health can be so very isolating and lonely – making it difficult for somebody to feel safe enough to reach out and ask for help. Our lifestyles have changed enormously over recent years, and with social media there can be an increased pressure to show others how great things are, even when they’re not.

It’s also great to see mental health being talked about, and campaigns being promoted and getting coverage on the news – supported as well by those able to use their fame to promote the work they do, particularly for me young people and men – including sportsmen, presenters, actors and musicians. Encouraging the conversation between men has been amazing to see. #project84 has been a recent example of this. (https://www.projecteightyfour.com/)

Future Thoughts..

It is important is to keep talking, to keep learning and to take notice. To notice that friend who is struggling. If you are finding things tough – talk to others. If you don’t feel able to talk to family or friends, there’s lots of support out there. As well as the ones discussed here, there are lots of charities where you can talk in confidence either via the internet/telephone as well as in person. You can go and see your GP, or, you could go and see a counsellor. If money is a worry then there are often counsellors who offer discounted fees, or who work within the NHS at no cost. There may also be local charities that provide low cost therapy. See my website link for contact details / links to various support. https://somerset-counselling.com/useful-links

I’ve only spoken briefly about a few in this blog, but there is a huge amount of advice and support out there and I wanted to use this to begin another conversation about mental health and well-being.

What are your thoughts or experiences? Would be great if you could share. Do you have links to a fundraiser or maybe you support one of these charities / movements. Let me know 

Lynsey Wall

July16th 2019

computer online counselling

August 15, 2018
by Lyns77
Comments Off on What is Online Therapy?

What is Online Therapy?

Online Therapy is when counselling session takes place via video calls. With the ever-evolving internet & the increase in improved technology, online counselling is both effective & straightforward.

More counsellors & therapists are embracing online counselling, which has a number of benefits to both them & the client.

Types of Online Therapy

Online counselling can be accessed in different ways. Some examples are:

Video / conference calling – Platforms such as Zoom (http://zoom.us) Doxy.me (https://doxy.me) Skype (https://www.skype.com/en/) or Whatsapp (https://www.whatsapp.com). These provide a way to speak online via video. The counsellor & client are therefore able to see each-other so it can feel very personal & connected.

It’s important to be aware of security / confidentiality issues when using any of these. Try to become familiar with their individual privacy policies. Unlike face-to-face counselling, there is a clearer risk of confidentiality being breached as you are talking over the internet.

Other methods can include:

  • VOIP (where you talk over the internet but without the video)
  • Emailing therapy
  • Text messaging / instant messaging.

Finally, telephone counselling is also offered by many counsellors. This can again feel very accessible for those who prefer to talk over the phone rather than face-to-face.

Benefits

Face to face sessions may feel too overwhelming or exposing for some. It can feel much less daunting for a person to access counselling remotely – therefore this is a fantastic alternative.

Isolation or location of the client / counsellor can mean that accessing a counsellor in person is too difficult. Online counselling gives the opportunity for them to reach out for support from wherever they are.

Online counselling can be better suited to those who work odd shifts – lots of counsellors will practice in the evening / early morning to cater for clients needs.

For those who have a physical disability online counselling may be the only way that they are able to freely & confidentially seek counselling. Not having to rely on others to drive them to appointments enables this to be as private as they would like it to be. Being able to access support from home can be an enormous help for many.

People with mental health issues who find leaving home an issue can also continue to access counselling through the online sessions. This can help to decrease the feelings of isolation & provide much needed support at difficult times.

Final Thoughts

All forms of online / telephone / text counselling will have their benefits as well as their negatives. If it is the way that you feel most comfortable with then I strongly believe that that is okay! Counselling needs to be accessible for everyone – and if this is helpful for some then I can only see it as a positive.

As somebody who has lived with chronic illnesses, I am now very aware of how isolating & helpless it can feel for somebody who would love to be able to reach out to a counsellor but who is simply unable to.

I have experience of both online & telephone counselling. Both myself & clients have found it to be both useful & effective. It has felt different – but that is to be expected!

To book an online counselling session, please follow his link: Contact Me

It’s accessible – it’s inclusive – it may ‘fit’ people better – it’s valuable & not a 2nd best form of counselling – it’s all about choice!

Lynsey Wall, 2019

Friday

August 15, 2018
by Lyns77
0 comments

Are ‘Sunday Blues’ a real thing?

Picture this…

You’ve enjoyed a couple of days off & you’ve just polished off a delicious roast dinner. You become aware that something is niggling at the back of your mind. The carefree, relaxed feeling that’s been with you is beginning to fade away, & then the realisation begins to creep in as the day draws to an end… it’s almost Monday.

For some this can mean excitement at the thought of what lies ahead… but often, it can mean a growing sense of unease & anxiety.

You may be cramming to complete that bit of homework you put off doing, or maybe you’re thinking about that huge deadline, or that feeling when you remember there’s a pile of unfinished stuff from your ‘To-Do’ list that you dumped on your desk on Friday as you excitedly thought ‘sod it; it can wait’! & ran into the weekend as fast as you could.

Sound familiar?

If you think about it, Sunday’s the Friday to the working week & is probably in total contrast to the feelings they conjure up for you. Friday = excitement; happiness; freedom;– there are tonnes of memes that do the rounds on social media wishing everyone a Happy Fri-Yay or the old classic Thank Fudge it’s Friday! You know the ones…

Friday

Credit: lovethispic.com

Compare this to Sundays / Mondays. They’re usually pretty negative. The sense of dread can be very real – it can feel like the weekends disappear in the blink of an eye, yet the week days feel like an extended version of one of The Lord of The Rings books.

But are ‘Sunday Blues’ a real thing? Or maybe we think they are so they become just that?!

Having more freedom at the weekend – away from having to do – can come really hard, and as it’s the 1st day of the week, it’s understandably the day that feels the worst of the 5. Setting the alarm, saying no to that extra glass of gin or not being able to stay up as late as you want all adds to Sunday evenings ending in a less than cheery way!

So, are ‘Sunday blues’ a real thing? Yea, I think Sunday Blues are real – I know I’ve felt them. There’ve been times I’ve felt overwhelmed & under pressure at work, or just dreaded re-entering the ‘real world’, and I’ve felt myself become sadder as the hours ticked on by.

For those who find comfort in their safe space – wherever it is – that space away from the routine; having to leave this & go to work / college or school can be really, really tough. For those kids who have a tough time at school, their sense of dread must be awful – at least as adults we have a little more control over things. If your child is feeling it on a Sunday, notice them, talk to them

What can I do if I’m worrying about the coming week?

  • Talk to someone about how you’re feeling.
  • Self-Care – Try & spend some time recharging; relaxing – whatever brings you some joy J
  • Try some mindfulness to help keep you present in the here & now. Acknowledge the anxious thoughts – but let them pass; refocusing on what’s going on right now.
  • If it’s possible, try and look for the positives amongst the more negative parts of the week ahead – this isn’t always easy though, and I appreciate that.

Whatever it is that may cause you to feel anxious about Mondays, be kind to yourself

**Of course, this isn’t the case for everyone – some love the routine some enjoy escaping their lives & entering into school / work life. The working week for many can actually be a sanctuary; so for them these feelings can be the total opposite…

Lynsey Wall, www.counsellinginsomerset.co.uk

July 2019

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