app

Alt Therapy,Depression,Healing

Date : July 11, 2017Comments : 0

11 FREE apps that help overcome depression and anxiety

Technology sometimes gets a really bad reputation for being bad for society and our mental health with reports of photographic social media platforms affecting the way we look at our own bodies and lowering our self-esteem. Although this may be the case technology gives huge capability for improved mental health and in this blog post we are going to discuss just some of the apps that we recommend you try for improved health.

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Healing,Life Experience,Motivation,Relationships

Date : March 5, 2017Comments : 0

Valentines’ Day – Love and Relationships

Valentine’s Day is here once more, and the shops are filled with red roses, bottles of fine wine and cards galore to help us say ‘I love you’ to that special someone.  For those already in a relationship, it is an opportunity to reaffirm feelings for a partner, while others may end their Valentine’s card with a cryptic ‘Love, ??? xxx’, possibly hoping that their affections will be discovered by the recipient.

Quality of Connection

Whatever your relationship status, whether you are happily paired, taking a break from being with another or getting over a painful breakup, the subject of love may well stir powerful emotions from either the past or present.  In the counselling room, sometimes clients speak about their relationships with significant others, and most often what stands out to me is not the physical attraction of one person to another, but the quality of the connection between the two halves of the partnership.

Like ‘This’ or ‘That’

In my experience as a therapist, often clients come with complaints about their partner’s behaviour or attitude, wanting to change them so that they are not like ‘this’ or ‘that’.  Clients sometimes feel that they are not being treated very well or being given the affection they deserve.  (In relationships where domestic abuse is a feature, this can very much be the case, but it is not these types of abusive relationships I wish to make comment on here.)

Influence Over Their Own Behaviour

When we examine what the client has influence over in the relationship – what they have the power to change – we find that they cannot one iota change their partner’s behaviour or way of doing things.  The client only has influence over their own behaviour and attitude.  Once this is agreed upon and accepted, work can begin on examining the client’s response to their partner’s way of being.  Several times I have worked with clients who have decided to redouble their efforts at loving their other half (in a practical, everyday kind of way), while maintaining firm boundaries to do with what they find acceptable in the relationship and what they do not.  This ‘carrot rather than stick’ approach often yields better results in terms of improving the quality of the connection between two people than a list of demands presented to the offending partner.

The more I work with those struggling with relationship issues, the more I feel that the key to a successful long term alliance has more to do with giving than getting.  What could you do this Valentine’s Day to show that someone special how you feel?

 ~ Rob Oglesby MBACP B.A. (Hons) BSc | Ashwood Therapy

[Ashwood Therapy provides a discreet, confidential and professional online counselling service by encrypted video call, live instant messaging and secure email.  More details, including tips on wellbeing and information on current counselling session pricing, can be found at www.ashwoodtherapy.com]

What's Your Story?

What’s Your Story?

Some time ago I was fortunate to be able to attend a professional development workshop run by Professor Jeffrey Kottler, an academic visiting the U.K. from California State University on the west coast of the U.S.  Professor Kottler, an experienced therapist and educator of the next generation of counsellors in the States had a take on the therapeutic process that immediately rang true with me even though I had not up to that point devoted much thought to it.  Our lives, Kottler stated, are our stories.  The job of the psychotherapist is to make sense of our clients’ stories with them, and to assist in the positioning of the client so that he or she can effectively author – within their limitations – the next part of the saga.

This struck me as quite a straight-forward statement at the time, yet having reflected on it since I have come to appreciate the power of the image Kottler was conveying.  I have realised through my time spent with clients that we are all, in our own way, engaged in activities that will hopefully make the present situation better for ourselves and those we care about, while at the same time trying to make sense of what happened then or why we reacted the way we did on that day.

Difficult Chapters

Some people that I counsel have lived through difficult chapters – some through harrowing ones.  Some people are haunted by shame, others by grief.  Some have been deeply unsettled by the pages written by others when they were too young to even write their own name unaided.  I have learned that a lot of people do not show what is written inside the book of their life story too readily.  There are perhaps some things within that we fear we may be judged for.  Or maybe some paragraphs are present that may cause us to be thought badly about.  Some dreams may be ridiculed if we share them with others, and some truths are kept close because they would hurt others deeply if they were ever shown the light of day.

Not Finished There

Kottler felt that through a relationship with a professional therapist, people whose stories are not sitting well with them could be assisted to find new meaning in challenging times.  Perhaps not to completely re-write the story, but to look at the past from a different angle that would allow the future to be authored in a different tone.  I would agree with him, and this has certainly been my experience in counselling clients at a hospice for children and young people.  In engaging in a working alliance with a mother or father of a child who is no longer loved in their presence, but rather in their absence, the search for how to go on writing when all seems lost has at times been heart-breaking.  The story, however, has not finished there.  I have witnessed on many occasions the rising up of a resolve to finish the book well in honour of a loved one.  It seems that resolve can empower those who are left behind to pen some truly inspiring words.

Coming To Terms

Whether you look back at some parts of your story so far with disappointment, embarrassment or indifference, I guess the fact is that we can all slowly choose to look positively at what comes next, if we truly want to.  We might not have an eraser with which to delete undesirable passages, yet perhaps coming to terms over time with what happened in the pages that have gone could be the next best thing.

~ Rob Oglesby MBACP B.A. (Hons) BSc | Ashwood Therapy

[Ashwood Therapy provides a discreet, confidential and professional online counselling service by encrypted video call, live instant messaging and secure email.  More details, including tips on wellbeing and information on current counselling session pricing, can be found at http://www.ashwoodtherapy.com/]

Stigma

Healing,Life Experience,Negative Thoughts,Psychology,Suicidal

Date : September 4, 2016Comments : 0

Stigma

During my clinical practice this past week, one subject has come up several times with several different clients; that of the stigma of being labelled with a mental health condition and the  unconscious fear of being seen in a different light by others because of such a pronouncement.  Dr. Carl Rogers, the founder of the person-centred approach to psychotherapy, wasn’t an advocate of the use of labels.  Some people can find labels try to put them in a box they don’t want to be in, which only tells half a story.  I don’t find labels all that useful either – after all, each client is an individual, with differing reactions to what is happening in their lives now and to what has happened in their past.

Power To The Client

Some people can be reluctant to tell others that they have sought out counselling, and in my experience this is often because many don’t know what happens behind the closed door of the therapy room, whether that be in a physical location or in cyberspace.  What I hear a lot in my job as a therapist is that “counselling isn’t at all what I thought it would be!  I don’t know what I expected, but if I’d have known what’s involved I would have come years ago“.  The confidentiality side of counselling is important, as it gives the power to the client over who they tell of their attendance in the therapy room.  It also means that the client can disclose things that may be hurtful to or misunderstood by others in their life, without the fear of upsetting those they interact with on a daily basis or those they share a home with.

A Common Problem

With the diversity and equality training that takes place in many of the large multinational companies operating all over the world, it is clear that there is a need to remind people that although we may all be different in some way, we are all equal.  According to research by the Office for National Statistics in the report Measuring National Well-being – Health, 2013, approximately 20% of adults here in the U.K. suffered with symptoms of problem anxiety and depression in 2011.  With common mental health problems being so widespread, it is a wonder that they are not more universally accepted as a part of the varied tapestry of everyday life.

Scary Picture

I sometimes think that the stigma present in some quarters is a throwback to the scary picture of ‘madness’ or ‘insanity’ associated with the harsh and inhumane treatment of people with mental health issues at certain stages in history.  To be ‘crazy’ is a serious matter when it involves the taking away of your rights and your voice.  Thankfully, services in many countries have advanced now to a point where a lot of societies are at least aiming for mental and physical health to be given equal priority and consideration.  There is a long way to go, perhaps, but arguably the change is happening.

Accepting Themselves

Individuals – and especially those who have been the recipient of a label – can be powerful advocates of just what mental ill health entails, and what it doesn’t.  To challenge the stigma and incorrect perceptions that can surround mental wellbeing issues is important for the many who are suffering in silence, so that they may feel able to seek help with their troubles.  A non-judgemental, private relationship with a professional counsellor can leave people feeling accepted for who they are.  For some this is the first step towards accepting themselves, just as they are.  If a friend told you they were struggling with mental health issues, what would be your reaction?

~ Rob Oglesby MBACP B.A. (Hons) BSc

 [Ashwood Therapy provides a discreet, confidential and professional online counselling service by encrypted video call, live instant messaging and secure email.  More details, including tips on wellbeing and information on current counselling session pricing, can be found at www.ashwoodtherapy.com]

On Demand

Healing,Life Experience,Motivation,Psychology

Date : August 16, 2016Comments : 0

Personal Growth in an On Demand World

Lots of things that we do today happen instantly or nearly instantly.  The blog you are now reading, for example, probably loaded up within a matter of seconds no matter where in the world you are situated.  If we pay for a product or service over the Internet using a bank card or online payment system, the funds are received by the retailer or service provider in near real time, allowing our order to be dispatched without delay.  Rarely do we have to wait for the postal service to deliver our favourite reading material any more, or wait for 7 days for our personal cheque to clear before our order is processed.

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social-media-1432985_1280

Alt Therapy,Depression,Healing,Relationships

Date : August 14, 2016Comments : 0

10 ways to improve your mental health and relationship with social media

We can’t ignore it, social media is HUGE for our generation.

It has infiltrated every aspect of our lives so vastly that it is difficult not to be a part of it even if you don’t really want to be. It could be said that it has almost made the telephone redundant as people begin to stay in touch and discover what loved ones are doing via Facebook or catch up with an old friend who lives on the other side of the world via Skype or discover the latest sports news before it even hits the newspapers. Social media has made us all more connected to each other but that can have it’s downsides.In this blog post we discuss ten things that we should keep in mind to keep our digital social life healthy.

In this blog post we discuss ten things that we should keep in mind to keep our digital social life positive and healthy.

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Social Media Icons

Social Media: False Friend?

You may be familiar with the phrase ‘Dunbar’s Number’, named after the anthropologist Robin Dunbar and coined in the 1990s.  Dunbar’s number refers to the probable limit to the number of social relationships a person can maintain effectively at one time, and is an interesting concept in the Internet age where many people’s  online ‘friends lists’ can number in the high hundreds.  What would you think Dunbar’s studies into human brain size and social grouping revealed to be the approximate maximum number of sustainable social connections?  300?  500?  Maybe 900?

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