Coping with Anxiety.

Anxiety is something that people find very difficult to describe or explain.  But it can have a massive impact on someone’s well being and day to day life.  Often people can feel over whelmed with the amount of things that they have to do, worried about something major that is coming up in their life, or they can be experiencing some kind of panic about changes that my be happening.  These changes can feel overwhelming and people can find them very difficult to deal with.

Anxiety is an emotion that rises and people can begin to feel on edge and start to worry.  Often they may experience a sense of fear or panic, or perhaps start to feel as though they can’t cope.  Sometimes people feel as though they can’t eat or sleep, or they may experience feeling very tired / exhausted and perhaps have a dry mouth / throat.  Everyone can have a different experience, so some people may end up sleeping a lot or over eating as a way of coping with what they are feeling.

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Often anxiety is associated with stress. People can become very anxious when they feel overwhelmed or under threat. This threat may be real or perceived.  Perhaps there is a threat to a job, a relationship or a friendship.  Sometimes people can fear things being taken away from them. Other times they can feel anxious when they are separated from loved ones.

Anxiety can manifest and people can have irrational fears about accidents or other worse case scenarios.  At other times it can leave people doubting the conversations they have had, lying awake replaying the things they said and beating themselves up endlessly about what they see as ‘failure’.  Anxiety can leave people feeling as though they aren’t good enough or even at times loved. It rises and leaves people feeling very on the edge and full of self doubt.  Often it comes out of nowhere and it can feel all consuming.

Fundamentally you don’t want to become a prisoner to your anxiety. You don’t want to allow it to win or take over. Here are some useful ways to help you to manage it – they cant take it all away, but they can make it so much easier to live with.

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  • Taking deep breaths or focusing on breathing is a very good way of instantly calming down.
  • Yoga and Pilates – great ways of dealing with anxiety, and managing the stress that comes with it.
  • Exercise is really beneficial.  Often people will feel better if they go out for a walk, a run, or perhaps a swim.  It is important that this exercise doesn’t become extreme or too intense.
  • Write about your anxiety and how you feel.  This could be keeping a journal for example or writing lists in order to make things more manageable .
  • Take regular breaks and to go away when and if this is possible.  A change of scenery can really make a big difference.
  • ‘Down’ time each week is also vital.  Everyone has different ways of switching off / relaxing. It is important to find the one that works for you.  Eg// taking a bath, reading a book etc
  • Talking and sharing the anxiety is another great way of coping.  This can be done with a friend, partner or someone that people feel they can trust.  It is important to feel able to say ‘I am feeling really anxious right now’ and to try and identify where things are coming from.
  • Therapy is really good for people when anxiety becomes too overwhelming or hard to manage.  Sometimes things can really get out of proportion for people and in general just feel too much.  When this happens and people are under a great deal of stress, it is important that they reach out and speak to a counsellor.

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Stress.

Stress is something that all of us have to live with, and a certain level of stress, is necessary and needed in order for us all to function.  On a daily basis we have certain things that we need to achieve and do.  Small doses of stress can help people to perform and motivate them to do their best and get things done.  To this extent, stress isn’t necessarily always a bad thing.

However, it is when stress takes over, and things become too much, that our bodies and emotional well being start to pay the price.

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When people feel overwhelmed and anxious, and as though they can’t cope, it is likely that they are stressed.  Signs of stress include things such as tension headaches, irritability, mood swings, aches and pains in the body, constant worrying, anxiety and more often then not – different types of illnesses will kick in.

In addition to this people that are stressed, often find that they can’t sleep properly, their mind is over active, often racing about different things, and focusing on things that are very negative.  People can start to forget things, or struggle to get day to day tasks achieved.

The more overwhelmed and stressed people begin to feel – the more likely they are to turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms. Such as alcohol or drugs. Alternatively people can develop an unhealthy relationship with things like food, exercise etc. Stress manifests in various different ways and people cope with it very differently. There are however far more healthier ways of managing stress.

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Learning how to deal with stress can be difficult initially, however once changes are put in place, the effects can be life changing.  Stress management is an important part of therapy, and when clients come for counselling because they are stressed, there are certain areas that can be worked on.  The following are some examples –

1. Learn to relax….

People who are highly stressed often find it very difficult to slow down and relax.  This is a very important thing to be able to do.  Whether it is finding time to read a book, take a bath, go for a massage, or a long walk – relaxation is key for anyone that is trying to deal with stress.

It may be that there are certain life changing events happening or major pressure at work.  However it is so important that somewhere in the week, time is found for relaxation.  This could also include things like yoga, meditation, or swimming.  It is very individual, and whatever people find helps them, in order to switch off and slow down.

2. Managing stress…..

The idea of managing stress is that you don’t let it control you.  This means taking charge of the things that are stressing you out.  If for example you are looking for a new job, or moving home, it is important to dedicate time and days for the things that are involved with these.

Rather then let them overwhelm you, or become too much on a daily basis, assign certain periods of time when you will focus on these tasks, and don’t let them dictate all of your thoughts.

It is important that you constantly affirm to yourself, that you are in charge, and that things are within your control.  As opposed to feeling that things are taking over, and that you cannot slow them down.

3. Talking….

 

On a professional level, therapy is very good for stress management.  But beyond the therapeutic relationship, it is important that you don’t isolate yourself, and that you keep talking to the people around you.  It can be tempting to go into a shell when you feel stressed and to stop communicating.

However it is imperative that people use the support network that they have, and let other people know how they are truly feeling. This means that in turn they will feel supported and heard.

4. Self care…

This is as simple as getting regular exercise, drinking enough fluids, and getting enough sleep.  In addition to this it includes eating the right foods, and getting enough fresh air.  It can be very tempting to turn to things like comfort food, alcohol etc when people are under a lot of pressure or they feel stressed.

The key, however, is to try and remember how important it is to take care of ourselves, when we feel stressed.  Eating the right foods, exercising, and sleeping, are all vital and important ways of combating stress.

There are other things that people can do when they are stressed, such as keeping a diary, writing to do lists, writing down all their thoughts and feelings etc.  These are just a few examples of how to combat stress.

If you would like more information or if you would like to consider counselling for stress management, then please call Hayley Maddox on 07590 663938.  Try to restore the balance in your life……

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Dealing with Loss.

Loss is something that everyone struggles with at some point in their lives.

Often the word ‘loss’ applies to death/ dying.  Bereavement is of course a major loss, and the death of someone close can be incredibly painful.  It can leave a huge and devastating void that cannot be filled by another or by anything else.

Grief can also apply to someone that is dying.  Watching someone you love slowly die (for example through cancer) can be incredibly difficult. Whether someone dies slowly, quickly, or whether it is predicted, or a shock – it is very painful.

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There are however many other forms of loss in peoples lives.  Loss can apply to the loss of a relationship for example.  Often this can feel like bereavement, and people have to go through the stages of grief before they begin to recover after a relationship breaks down.  It could be divorce, or separation, or it could be a couple splitting up after a year.  Either way, it causes a lot of upset for people.

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Loss of relationships can also apply to friendships, or even work colleagues, or groups that people have once belonged to.  It can also include family relationships.  Siblings can for example, often fall out or stop talking, and this can be painful and upsetting. It can also be the same for people’s relationships with their parents.  Whatever the reason / cause for a split or fall out, loss is really hard to deal with.

Often people think that if they have made the choice to end a relationship, then they won’t feel so much pain.  But even when you make that choice, you can still feel grief, sadness, upset and often anger.  Losing someone, in any capacity, is overwhelmingly painful.

RBLOG3Beyond this, loss can come in other ways – for example people can be made redundant, or lose their job in another way.  House fires can destroy homes / belongings, or sometimes burglary/theft can mean that precious things are taken from someone.  All of these are other examples of loss.  Sometimes people can think that it is only a small thing to have a handbag stolen for example. Yet this can leave people very upset / distressed and sometimes it can feel as though very personal things have gone missing.

Loss can apply to so many things.  It can also apply to loss of innocence for example, if someone experiences or witnesses any kind of abuse.  This can range from sexual to physical. Exposure at such a young age can mean that childhood can be lost.

Identity is another area where loss can be felt.  Sometimes people can find out they were adopted, and they can then start to question who they are, where they come from etc.  Or maybe there can be questions around things such as sexuality, when family / society are putting pressure on a person to be a certain way.  Loss of identity, security etc is all major factors and can be very upsetting for people.

ms2These are just some of the different examples of loss.  The list is endless – loss can apply to hope, to dreams, to goals etc.  It can apply to the loss of a baby – miscarriage, abortion etc.  The pain that people live with after a major loss is immense.  Sometimes as a result of this people can turn to destructive coping mechanisms.

People can often use alcohol, drugs, food, sex, gambling, destructive relationships or even work / exercise , as a way of managing loss.  The grief / pain that comes can often feel over whelming and too much to handle.  People can begin to shut down, close themselves off from the closest people to them, and stop talking.  Gradually they can turn to these destructive methods to try and help them to cope / manage.  The irony being that these behaviours tend to just make things a lot worse.

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There are several things that can help when it comes to coping with loss.  The list below is some of them. It does take time, and it isn’t always easy. But the following can help to make it more manageable.  If you or anyone you know is struggling with loss, it may be useful to look at this list.

  • Exercise – it doesn’t matter if it is walking, swimming or hitting the gym. Whatever works for you – exercise releases endorphins and combats depression.
  • Keep a journal of all your thoughts and feelings.  Releasing these from your head can be very therapeutic.
  • Talk to your family and friends – share what is going on for you. It’s important not to isolate yourself.
  • Make some time for yourself each day.  Do whatever you need to – read, meditate, watch a film – whatever works for you.
  • Take some pressure of yourself – you don’t have to attend everything or say yes to everyone. Slow down.
  • Spend time with people that make you feel calm and happy. Focus on those that understand and those that can be there for you.
  • Remember that this won’t last forever, and things will get easier. Trusting in an end point can make things more bearable.
  • Try to avoid using alcohol or drugs as a way of self-medicating.  It can make you feel so much worse. Even a temporary high will have a huge low that follows.
  • Aim to eat a healthy and balanced diet. Again, try to avoid using food in a destructive way – by either over or under eating.
  • Speak to your GP – it doesn’t mean you have to go on medication, but sometimes this can be needed and can really help.
  • Seek counselling if possible – counselling can really help when your coping with loss. If we can help we will – 07590 663938 or info@yourcounsellingservice.co.uk We have an excellent team of therapists and assessments can normally be booked for the next day.

New Years Resolutions…..

It is the beginning of January and the most common conversation you will hear is people talking about what they are going to do differently this year.  The majority of people feel that they have over indulged in one way or the other over the festive period.  They then get drawn into the notion that January can be the change of that.  The ideas that people come up with, the discussions that they have, and lists that they make, are often well and truly forgotten by the end of the month.

Most people will feel that they have drunk too much over the festive period and you will often see/ hear of people cutting back in January or on a ‘detox’.  This can also apply to food.  People often set themselves targets to lose weight.  They make plans to shed those few extra festive pounds, or suddenly they go from eating lots of chocolate and sweets to living off salad and soup.  This new year’s ‘diet’ is of course not sustainable.

Gyms often become packed in the new year.  Lots of people sign up and start a new exercise regime.  The majority however,  do not stick to it, and do not continue with the plan that they have put in place.  This would apply across to the board to fitness classes, running, new exercise dvd’s , you name it.  They all come from this renewed sense of ‘positive change’, but actually people fall back very quickly into old habits /routines.  This list can go on in terms of smoking cigarettes, taking drugs, but also other addictions, that you may not have thought of.  Such as work addiction for example.

The list of addictions can be extensive.  Work is just one of many.  Exercise could be another. Gambling, pornography, sex, cleaning, stealing.  The list goes on and it is endless.  It is never really about the actual way that the addictive behaviour comes out, but far more about the underlying cause.

Not everyone who over indulges at Christmas has an addiction.  And not everyone who tries to put new year’s resolutions in place is trying to cover up an underlying issue.  However, a lot of people do and will use things such as listed above as a way of coping and managing with feelings and emotions.  It is this that often goes undetected and this that can get missed at this time of year.

Imagine the amount of people that have an eating disorder and set January as the time to go on the next diet? Or the amount of alcoholics that say they are going to detox in January.  They will no doubt, find themselves back in the same place as they were the previous Christmas if they don’t actually get some help.

It would be so much ‘healthier’ for people to pick up the phone at this time of year and to get some help with the issues that they may struggle with.  Rather than focusing on the gym, the detox, the pounds etc.  What a difference counselling can make to people’s lives in the long term, if only they have the courage to take that brave step.

A reason often given for not doing this is not feeling ready.  Yet making the initial enquiry and coming for an initial assessment can often be the thing that turns people’s lives around.  There is never an ideal time to start counselling, however if you find yourself saying that you don’t feel ready , or you don’t feel strong enough, or perhaps your too anxious.  Then it is most likely that you need counselling now more than ever.

The second reason people often give is that they can’t afford it.  Particularly at this time of year.  Here at your counselling service we recognise this and understand that the cost of therapy can be difficult for people.  We are therefore happy to reduce fees to make counselling more affordable for people.  We have a wide range of appointments and we try to accommodate peoples needs as much as possible.

Please get in touch if we can help you.  Don’t sit back and wait until you find yourself hurting again.  And don’t try and use new year’s resolutions as a way of managing things.  If you have any issues that you feel a therapist could help you with, then call us.  07590 663938 or e mail info@yourcounsellingservice.co.uk

 

Change.

Change can be very difficult for a lot of people.  It can happen in all areas and aspects of people’s lives and it can often be really hard for people to deal with. Whatever the change is, it can raise levels of anxiety, it can bring about stress, it can unsettle people, and moreoften than not, it can be difficult to adjust and get used to.

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People often feel secure when they know where they stand, and when they feel that they are settled in some kind of routine. This could for example be there job, perhaps it is where they live, or the relationships that they have in their lives.  When something changes to one or some of these areas it can be hard for people to adapt to.

A lot of this has to do with identity. Where we work, live, who we spend time with, and how we feel about these areas of our lives, all contribute towards a sense of knowing who we are.  When things around us change, people can be left feeling unsettled and questioning things about themselves.

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For example if someone is made redundant this can naturally be an unsettling and anxious time.  Even if the redundancy is welcome, it can bring about a sense of not knowing what will happen next, or being unsure about where to go or what to look for in the next chapter of a person’s life.  While this can bring about excitement – and a time to try something different, it can also leave people feeling worried, anxious, on edge and unsettled.  This can also apply when people leave a job, or start a new job.  Even if it has been their decision, and they feel pleased with the change.  The period of adjustment can often be a difficult and daunting one.

Outside of work, moving house, or changing who we are living with, can be difficult for people.  Our home is ideally meant to be a place where we feel safe and settled.

If this changes it can also heighten anxiety and bring up a variety of emotions.  Adapting to a new living environment can be difficult.  Again it can be something that is exciting for some people. But it always brings about some level of stress.

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Change can also apply to relationships. Friendships, family relationships and romantic relationships can at various times break down.  Perhaps they end, or perhaps they go through difficult periods.  Sometimes people can get extremely close, but then dynamics can change, and they no longer feel as close.  All relationships go through a transition of change, and evolve as they go along.  People can often find this difficult to deal with and feel very unsure and unsettled when the relationships around them experience change.

Other life changes can happen, for example when people get married, or when they have children.  Or when young people move out,maybe they go travelling or start university, or their first job.  These are significant changes in the ‘stages’ of our lives.  Often they can be enjoyable and happy times, but equally they can often be daunting, hard to cope with and overwhelming.  Sometimes they can bring about questions for people – such as how they think they should be, as a student, mum or wife for example.

People often put immense pressure on themselves to conform to what society expects, and consequently beat themselvesup when they don’t feel they are living up to this.

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Stages in life can involve a lot of change. Equally when people feel they are not ‘where they should be’, this can bring up anxiety and a sense of panic. For example when people turn a certain age they often think they should be married, or should be having children etc. If they aren’t, and those around them are, then this can leave them
feeling inadequate in some ways, as though other people are changing/ moving forward, and they aren’t.  This can be really difficult for people to deal with.

In addition to this, with age, people’s bodies, health and looks can change.  This can be hard for individuals to deal with.  Whether this is around size, shape, hair, the need to slow down etc, it can leave people feeling unsettled.  As people get older things do change a lot and this can be hard to contend with.  For example as children grow up and leave home, parents can be left wondering what to do with this change, or as people retire, maybe they feel unsure as to what to do with their time.  Again these changes relate to identity, and people have to adapt to the change, and try and make sense of who they are in their lives now, and what their role is.

Ultimately as people we evolve, change and grow/develop. This as mentioned can be exciting, it can be moving and it can bring about a lot of positive difference.However it can also raise levels of anxiety, leave people feeling unsettled about who they are.  If you think for example about when someone gets divorced, or when they partner sadly dies.  They are often left with the question, who am I without this person in my life or this sense of not knowing who to be on their own.  This can be so hard for people to contend with.

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Therapy is a really useful place to explore feelings around change.  It offers a safe place where they can discuss what is going on for them, and they can explore what is coming up for them around the change they are going through. Ultimately it can help people to understand more about who they are, and what their identity is.  It assists them in getting to know them more and to appreciating, that they haven’t lost themselves to being a wife / mum/ dad etc. They can work hard in therapy to deal with the change they are going through, the anxiety it is causing, and the panic it may leave them feeling.  Therapy can help people to work through this change and to ultimately feel a sense of still knowing who they are, and feeling more grounded in themselves.

Here at your counselling service, we appreciate how difficult change can be.  If you or anyone you know is having a difficult time adjusting to change, or going through some big changes, then counselling could be really useful.

Please feel free to pick up the phone andcall 07590 663938 or to e mail info@yourcounsellingservice.co.uk

 

 

 

Emotional eating.

If you have clicked on this blog then the chances are that you (or someone close to you) is struggling with emotional eating.

Emotional eating is something that a lot of people struggle with.  Often it is overlooked as a problem.  People tend to label themselves as being ‘greedy’, or describe what they call a ‘bad day’.  Unlike eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia, emotional eating is often dismissed by people as something that isn’t that serious.  The reality however, is that it can be very distressing and many people end up feeling that their life is controlled by food.

Emotional eating refers to food that satisfies a feeling, rather then fills a physical hunger . For example some people may reach for ice cream if they are feeling sad, or open some crisps if they are feeling bored.  Either way they are not eating because their body needs fuel.

There are several differences between emotional hunger and physical hunger.  Here are some of them – .

1. When you are eating to fill a void that isn’t related to an empty stomach, you crave a specific food, such as pizza or ice cream, and only that food will meet your need. When you eat because you are actually hungry, you’re open to options.

2. Emotional hunger comes on suddenly; physical hunger occurs gradually.

3, Emotional hunger feels like it needs to be satisfied instantly with the food you crave; physical hunger can wait.

4. Even when you are full, if you’re eating to satisfy an emotional need, you’re more likely to keep eating. When you’re eating because you’re hungry, you’re more likely to stop when you’re full.

5. Emotional eating can leave behind feelings of guilt; eating when you are physically hungry does not.

People often find that there are certain times of the day when they are more vulnerable – perhaps late at night for example.  Others however may find that it depends on what is going on in their life.  During highly stressful times food can often play the role of comforting someone, or calming down their anxiety  For example if someone has a highly stressful job, or if they are having relationship issues.  Childhood habits and social influences can also have an impact on emotional eating.  For example some people may have grown up being rewarded with food, and others may be very nervous in social situations. Either way food becomes a persons way of coping and managing with things.  People begin to see it as their ‘best friend’.  The irony is that it is in fact also their worst enemy, and while they use it in this way, they end up feeling worse about themselves..

It is important that people are able to identify that they have an issue with food, before they can really start to deal with it. It is also vital that people realise that this release is only temporary.  Much like drinking alcohol, taking drugs , exercise or having sex, food can become an addiction, and the ‘high’ can only last so long.  The come down after a binge can be awful and many people can spend ages beating themselves up and feeling very low in mood, as well as in physical discomfort. Once people recognise that there is an issue, the next step is having the desire to change.  Once this happens, then people can start to overcome this destructive relationship with food, and make some real positive changes.

There are some real positive changes that people can make to their lives in order to recover from emotional eating.  The best place to start is to keep a food diary and write down everything that is being eaten. It is also advisable to record all feelings and emotions in this diary.  It is useful to then look back and review what has been happening.  Only then can people start to understand and recognise what their triggers are.  They can then be mindful of them going forward.

It is also a good idea to try and slow down, and get more in touch with what is being eaten, and the process of eating.  Often people can eat too fast and not even acknowledge what they are doing.  If this process can be slowed down it can really help.  General day to day relaxtion, breathing techniques, yoga etc can also be good in times of high stress and a positive alternative to eating.  If people can learn to choose other things such as reading a book or going for a walk, then they will be able to adapt their lifestyle accordingly.  Daily exercise (not excessive) can be really useful too.

 

It is important that people also connect with others, and talk about their feelings and emotions.  Networking is vital in times of stress, anxiety etc, as is getting enough sleep and taking care of ourselves.  Finally psychotherapy can really help if people feel that they are addicted to food, and that it is all consuming for them.  If you feel that therapy is something that you (or someone close to you ) could benefit from then please e mail info@yourcounsellingservice.co.uk or call 07590 663938.

 

Understanding Eating Disorders…….

February is National Eating Disorders Awareness month.
The idea of this month is to develop and increase the knowledge and understanding
that people have about Eating Disorders. This can often be limited and it is generally
misunderstood. For example a very popular assumption is that Eating Disorders only happen to women.  Men do however live with Eating Disorders on a daily basis, and often find it difficult to ask for help.

When people hear the words ‘Eating Disorder’ they often assume that this means
someone that is incredibly thin or they think that an Eating Disorder is simply
about food.  These are very common misconceptions.  As is the view that a person
has a choice about what they are doing.  You will often hear negative and quite ignorant comments, such as ‘they are doing it to themselves’ or ‘why don’t they just eat’.  It is comments like this that can leave someone with an Eating Disorder feeling so alone , isolated and as though they have done something wrong.  This in turn leads them to turn to their eating disorder even more.

At Your Counselling Service a large part of the work that we do is with Eating
Disorders.  When we are working with clients (either in group or on an individual basis) we focus on getting to know that person individually.  People are not their Eating Disorders. This is so important.  Often by the time people come for treatment all that they have heard about is their issues with food.  Families, friends, doctors etc can all end up focusing on the behaviour, on eating / not eating, exercising / not exercising, without actually acknowledging that there is still a person underneath all of that.  Often
someone in a lot of pain, struggling with a lot of different emotions and feelings, and unable to express themselves.

An eating disorder becomes someone’s way of dealing with their feelings.  It is an unhealthy and destructive way of expressing them.  People are often keen
to pin point the exact cause of an eating disorder or to assume that it means
there has to have been some kind of sexual abuse, or other eating disorders in
the family.  The fact is that there are many different things that can contribute to eating disorders developing.  Yes sexual abuse, and genetics can play a part, as can picking up on eating behaviours as children.  But there are many other factors that can
also affect the way that someone eats.  These can include bullying, divorce, peer pressure, bereavement, academic pressure / struggles, family dynamics, relationship difficulties, issues around self -esteem and confidence – to name just a few.

No one can determine when an eating disorder will develop, or predict who will get
one.  Often the initial changes are very subtle and it is hard to pick up on what is happening.  Sadly it is only once things get a lot more severe that people tend to get help.  But disordered eating has a large scale, and so many people are affected by it.

Diets – these can often be encouraged in society.  People can talk about losing weight, cutting back on certain foods, and perhaps including exercise in this.  This
can however become addictive and before people know it they are cutting out
more and more food types, and exercise increases.  Addiction takes over and the weight continues to drop.  Anorexia kicks in.  Being anorexic doesn’t only mean being severely thin and hospitalised on a drip.  Many people are anorexic but functioning on some level – for example working, at university etc.  There weight is severely low, but
not quite low enough to go into inpatient treatment.  This is a dangerous place to be as people cannot see how ill they are themselves.  But weight drops off, periods stop, food decreases – the physical and emotional effects are huge and very damaging.
People can often become obsessed with weighing themselves, carolie counting etc.

In therapy we often talk about the best friend and the worst enemy.  Anorexia is powerful, and takes over – it can destroy someone’s life, yet at the same time it can feel like a comfort for them.  The one thing that they can rely on.  This applies to all types of eating disorders too. It takes a lot of work to challenge this and for people to start to let
go.

Exercise addiction is another form of disordered eating, and this can also over lap to
people that are bulimic or binge eat.  Not all people with any type of eating disorder will over exercise.  But is can be a problem area. And often something that people don’t recognise as an issue.  In society exercise is often encouraged.  Yet this can also take over, and it can be used as a way of purging feelings for example and a way of people trying to control their weight.

For some this is very difficult – they may appear in the ‘normal weight range’ and
no one can see that they are living with an eating disorder.  This can often be the case with people that are bulimic, because they binge and then make themselves sick, or they make themselves sick after eating anything.

It is most likely that they will appear a ‘healthy’ weight.  This can be incredibly frustrating for them and add to the secrecy of their eating disorder.  This brings about so much shame and often guilt, that needs addressing. In the Eating Disorder groups that we run at ‘Your counselling service’, we encourage people with all types of eating disorders tobe in the same therapy group. This is a really good opportunity to challenge the myths, beliefs and pre conceptions that people may have about them being bulimic in comparison to anorexic.  The truth is that both (as well as exercise addiction) are dangerous for physical and mental health, life threatening, and so difficult and painful to live with on a daily basis.

This also extends to people that binge eat. They may binge at various times of the day (often in the evening for example), or they may compulsively over eat throughout the day.  This can leave them feeling so out of control, and often really disgusted with themselves.  Society can often label people as being either ‘fat’ or ‘lazy’ without considering the emotional turmoil that they are living with.

Imagine a voice inside your head telling you all the time what to eat, what not to eat
, when to exercise, when to weigh yourself etc.  Imagine a voice that tells you all the time that you are not good enough, that you are fat, ugly, worthless, unlovable and that no one wants or likes you.  Imagine this voice going around all day long, and sometimes at night when you are trying to sleep.  It never stops.  It never rests.  It’s there all the time, waiting for moments when you are vulnerable, waiting to try and take over.  Only then you can even slightly imagine the hell of living with an eating disorder. At ‘Your counselling service’ we take this nightmare very seriously and do everything we can to challenge the voices that try to destroy people’s lives.  Our group therapy and individual
counselling service specialises in Eating Disorders.  The feedback we get is that we ‘really do get it’.  We work hard to help people to get their lives back on track and to not be controlled by food.

If you or anyone you know is struggling with any issues around food, please do pick up the phone (07590 663938) or e mail info@yourcounsellingservice.co.uk
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The cost of therapy.

Money can often be a barrier for people when it comes to therapy.
In this current economic climate therapy can sometimes be seen as an expensive luxury.  The question I guess, is ‘can you put a price on your emotional health and well being?’

 

Therapy is a really important support for a lot of people.
They come to see a therapist often when they are at their lowest point.  This could be as result of someone’s death, of job loss, relationship break down, divorce, or maybe through an eating disorder or addiction causing them serious problems.  It is a shame that it often takes people hitting rock bottom before they will pick up the phone or send an e mail to a therapist.  The reality is however, that amongst other issues (such as time, what others think etc), money will always be seen as a barrier for getting help.

 

‘I can’t afford therapy…’ is a statement that can often be heard.  People struggle to   make the commitment, due to financial concerns.  It is important however, to recognise, that while this can sometimes be the case, it can also be used as a way to avoid getting help. Much like the view, that I don’t have time to go to therapy, or I am just too busy, there are no good therapists etc, the issue of money can be made to stand in the way of getting help.

It is important however, that people realise the importance of getting therapy and the difference that it can make to people’s lives.  Having the space to talk about the issues that are impacting on your life is both important and necessary at times.  Being able to work things through is key, and having someone objective and neutral to listen, can make a real positive difference.

 

Here at your counselling service, we are very aware of the expense of therapy, and so we always offer a plan to suit people.   The aim is for you to be able to get the help that you need, without over stretching yourself to a commitment that you cannot keep.  We are currently offering a low fee counselling service. This service will suit people that
aren’t working, or those who work part time, or having financial difficulty.  We are in the position to offer places at a very reasonable fee.

In addition to this, we are also aware of the issue of money in ongoing therapy.  Sometimes it becomes something that clients are struggling with once they have been in therapy for a long time.  For this reason, we are also open to adapting treatment plans.  At times we are willing to reduce the cost, or at other times reduce the therapy to every other week.  It would of course depend on the personal circumstances of the individual client, and their needs would be discussed and worked with.

Here at Your Counselling Service, we would encourage people to get the help that they need, and to not let money be something to stand in the way.  Never be scared to pick up the phone (07590 663938) or to send an e mail (info@yourcounsellingservice.co.uk)
and outline to us what feels reasonable / feasible for you.  We are always willing to listen and to help out.

Breaks.

Breaks in therapy can be very difficult for clients to manage.  The consistency of therapy (eg// regular weekly appointments on the same day / same time each week) are what is known as the ‘therapeutic frame’.  This frame provides regularity in clients lives, and it aims to give them something that they can rely and depend upon for the time that they are in therapy.  If this frame changes for any reason it can be disruptive to the work, and often leave clients feeling unsettled.

Many people may have been let down in their lives. For example people may have left them, not been there for them or let them down at the last minute.  Some clients may have experienced being abandoned by a parental figure for example, or others may have experienced someone going away for a short while, and never coming back (despite promising to do so).  All of these experiences can contribute to the way that clients will feel about their therapist taking a break.

Logically people understand that like all professions / jobs, therapists also need a holiday or to take some time off.  Emotionally however, this can be a very difficult experience.  Some clients may feel angry at their therapist – and thoughts such as ‘how dare you leave me’, will go through their mind.  Others may feel scared that their therapist won’t come back, or very upset and concerned about how they will manage without them. 

The key to the feelings around breaks is how they are managed.  It is really important that clients are encouraged to express the emotions that they feel in therapy.  The therapeutic relationship is intense and unique, and clients need to be able to feel that they can say what is going on for them around the relationship. 

Some clients may find it too hard to express what is going on for them.  They may not know how to say that they feel scared or they may think it is silly to express anger towards their therapist for taking a holiday.  Sometimes this results in what is called therapeutically ‘acting out’.  This means that clients could for example cancel the last session before the therapist goes away, or the first one when they return.  Maybe they will say they are unwell, or they have work commitments.  This is usually a sign that they are expressing something towards their therapist.  Other clients may come for the session, but not say anything, and hold back – disengaging is another form of acting out.

It is really important that a therapist handles all of this very delicately and with care.  The key is to challenge clients on what they are doing, and to reflect back to them what the therapist is experiencing.  This could mean asking them what it feels like that their therapist is going away for two weeks, and what do they imagine this means etc.  Exploring the thoughts and feelings can really enable some good work to take place.

Breaks in therapy can bring up a huge amount for clients; anxiety can often be in the room a lot around this time. Therapists can also struggle with taking the break themselves.  Perhaps they feel uneasy leaving their clients, or they worry about how they will manage.  These feelings need to be worked through in the therapist’s supervision, or they will also be around in the counselling room / the therapeutic relationship. 

The main point is that clients can and do survive breaks.  Breaks are actually very important in the work.  They enable clients to see that they can be self sufficient, and that they are not totally dependent on their therapist.  They help clients to use other resources and to learn how to use peer support.  In addition to this they can enable a lot of very intense and productive work to be done in the counselling room.  Some of this work will be around the therapeutic relationship itself.  This is the key to therapy, and addressing issues that are related to it, will really enable the therapy to move forward to the next level.  Both counsellor and client need to be encouraged to not be fearful or anxious of breaks in the work, but rather use them productively as part of the ongoing powerful journey of therapy.

Trust.

Trust is the ability to rely on someone and to feel confident in them.  This means understanding and knowing that they will be there for you, and that you can depend on them to take care of you, and your needs.  Being able to trust someone is very important and it enables the strength of a relationship to grow and develop.  

Trust is the key to every relationship.  It is necessary for people to feel safe and to feel close to someone.  This doesn’t just apply to romantic relationships, but also to friendships, family, work colleagues, and also professional relationships.  It is really important that people feel they can trust someone.  If they don’t – then they won’t open up to them, and they won’t feel that they can depend on them. 

Trust is very delicate.  It takes time to build, and when it is broken, it is a hard thing to rebuild and repair.  A good example of this is when someone feels that they have been betrayed by a partner.  Lies are often a key example of this.  If a partner has lied to cover up something, then they have betrayed their partner, and consequently trust has been broken.  After this it can be incredibly difficult for someone to trust them again.

 

Lack of trust can lead to insecurities.  It can often lead to someone suspecting the person to repeat what they have done before.  For example if someone has been unfaithful in some way, then partners are left feeling suspicious that the person will repeat the same action again.  Feelings of insecurity are hard to manage and incredibly difficult to handle.  People can often feel paranoid, anxious and on edge.  They can also end up acting out, whether this is with food or alcohol, or they can even get into habits of checking up on someone.  Either way, they are not living a calm and relaxed life.

People often feel that once someone has broken their trust, that it is very difficult to get that trust back again.  The assumption is often that once someone has broken trust, they will do it again.  On an even deeper level then this, if people have been hurt before or had their trust broken before (for example by a friend or partner), then they are much more likely to be mistrusting in future relationships.  This can lead people to constantly feel worried or anxious, and spend their time trying hard to please people or to keep them happy, in order to make sure that they are not hurt again.  This can make for a very difficult relationship dynamic, as people don’t end up being totally honest with one another, resentment can often build, and on top of this people do not end up getting exactly what they need out of a relationship.

The truth is that trust can be re built, but it does take a lot of time.  It is not just about words – eg// re assurance and apologies, but it is also about actions.  Sometimes people will need to be shown that they can rely on a person again.  They will need evidence that this person is not going to hurt them again, and they will need to see signs that they can begin to trust again. 

 

Communication is the key in this process.  People need to be able to talk through what has happened in any relationship.  For example if a friend has really let another friend down ,then the two of them need to have a conversation around why this happened, how it happened, and the friend will need re assurance that it wont happen again.  Relationships are likely to be very delicate after trust has been broken – so it is important that people don’t expect it to be re built immediately.  It will take time, and it can be a slow and painful process.  Time is a healer, but during this time, talking and openness is the key to re building.

In addition to this people who have had their trust broken need to start to recognise when they are being irrational and when they are over reacting.  If a person is trying to earn trust again, then they do need a chance to prove themselves.  This means that there may be times when people can assume the worst (because their trust has bee broken in the past).  The person who broke their trust needs to try and be patient, and understanding, and be mindful that it will take time for the wounds to heal.  However for the person who is trying to trust again, they need to be able to recognise and accept when they are in a state of anxiety and not thinking rationally.

Anxiety is something that can be calmed down in various ways – for example yoga, pilates, walking, reading, or exercise.  Provided these things are done to moderation then they can be very beneficial.  However in more extreme cases this alone wont calm anxiety down, and help people to calm down.  It may be necessary for them to see a therapist and get some help with their insecurities, anxiety and at the same time counselling can help people to re build trust. 

 

When a person comes for therapy, and they have had their trust broken, it is imperative that a therapist enables them to learn how to trust them.  A therapist can do this with consistency, continuity and reliability.  They can demonstrate a relationship that is safe, secure and reliable.  Over time this will hopefully enable someone to trust their therapist, and to open up to them.  In turn they can then explore their insecurities and trust issues around other relationships. Over time if it is appropriate then people can invite other people into their therapy sessions – for example a partner, or a family member.  This can be really useful if trust has been broken and it can enable people to re build their relationship and begin to feel more secure with one another.  It gives the opportunity to discuss and talk through any issues and areas of concern, and to improve communication.