My areas of focus
People often feel distressed, confused, lost, or overwhelmed long before they enter therapy. It takes courage to reach out to a stranger for support. I’m here to help you understand your emotional struggles and to release your inner strengths and true potential. I work with people who want to make positive changes in their lives, but are held back by fear, stress, indecision, or old habits. I can help you gain awareness and insight and learn concrete strategies for managing uncomfortable thoughts, emotions, and harmful behaviours, so you can live the life you want, rather than the life you know.
Anger is about feeling out of control and wanting to gain the control back.
The bodily experience of anger can result in sensations of heat, tightness, pulsation or contraction. Breathing may become heavy or rapid and the heartbeat strong. The mind experience is of narrowing down into very black and white, two-dimensional thinking. The anger is focused outward, directed toward someone or something that is perceived to be ‘causing’ the anger state to exist. Of course anger is caused by, and reacted upon, the person experiencing the angry state of mind.
After an angry ‘outburst’, there is usually a stage of contrition as the over-reaction is sensed. This can lead to feelings of self-recrimination which are uncomfortable. As a means to escape these uncomfortable feelings there is a tendency to justify anger as caused by external situations, people or events. Blaming others. This just further reinforces the belief that anger exists outside personal responsibility.
Anger creates havoc in personal relationships. Attempts to control others or situations whilst being out of control of one’s self is obviously conflicting and ultimately confusing.
There is also ‘displacement’ anger where the original ‘cause’ of the feelings of upset aren’t expressed in a healthy way. These feelings then fester and accumulate and are projected onto an unrelated incident out of all proportion to the incident itself.
Gaining insight and using strategies to alter responses causes change and new, more fulfilling ways of viewing and experiencing the world can be put in place. Stress free and calm.
Anxiety is about the fear of the unknown. Imagining the worst that can happen. Catastrophizing situations and events.
Anxiety can manifest in many different ways. It can be present as a sense of general unease which seems to prevent the full enjoyment of life. It can also be quite specific and cause panic attacks or phobic reactions. All anxiety is fear based. It is because of what has happened, or what might happen. Predicting a future that has yet to happen as an unpleasant, fearful scenario.
As human beings, we are wired to experience a level of anxiety when our safety feels threatened. This is quite normal and essential to our survival. Problems develop when we feel unsafe and threatened by ordinary everyday events, or a heightened sense of imagined insecurity. When working to alleviate feelings of anxiety, I explain ‘tools’ that can be used and practiced day to day to ease the overwhelming feelings. I then work with a client’s anxiety-inducing experience and trace this back to the source. Realigning to give a more balanced point of view, bringing things into perspective.
Working closely with the client and listening to underlying information, insight is gained. From this viewpoint and using strategies that tackle the anxiety as it is being experienced, the client can establish different understandings and feelings.
Depression is an overwhelming, persistent and debilitating state of mind.
Feeling that there is no point to anything, no enjoyment of life. Feeling empty and lost as if being unable to find a direction.
It is a self-feeding condition. The more these feelings take hold, the worse the sufferer feels and the more the feelings intensify. Breaking this cycle of self reinforcing the original state of mind is one of the main factors in correcting the overwhelming feelings and allowing some relief.
There is no one cause of depression. It can often be a combination of events, experience and circumstances. Sometimes unresolved issues or trauma from childhood experiences can set the debilitating contributory factors in place. Then a life changing event, such as an illness or bereavement can exacerbate these earlier feelings and cause depression. It can feel as if the world is seen in shades of grey and even the simplest of tasks become enormously difficult to manage.
By working with a client and understanding the way depression is experienced gives insight and begins to build the opportunities to do things differently. Discussing how thoughts are formulated further builds on this work, and simple tasks and exercises are put in place to reinforce progress and connect a client to their own resources.
As these changes begin to take effect in day to day experience the self depreciating cycle is broken and a new cycle of building on positive anticipation and outcome is established. This is quite a gentle process, always at the client’s own pace.
As the client begins to feel stronger, both in themselves and their ability to contribute to their recovery, the underlying causes can be explored and resolved.
Emotional and mental abilities
As we grow from children into adults we establish skills. It’s easy to understand how we build physical skills and a lot of attention is paid to these, yet we also establish emotional skills that often remain unnoticed.
The majority of these behaviours enable us to cope well with life yet some habitual way of thinking block our progress from developing our lives in the way we would like. Old beliefs hold us back and emotional responses we used as children are unhelpful in our adult lives and need to be updated. This is true irrespective of age.
We also often find that we’ve missed out on learning some skills, perhaps our parents didn’t have these skills themselves or maybe we were overprotected or even neglected as children. Examining our life skills can reveal that we lack some basics and need some help in understanding and establishing new skills.
As I work with clients we set up ‘tools’ that can be used to gain a different perspective when faced with challenging situations. We also look at individual ineffective strategies which have been built over time, and how to modify and change these habits of behaviour so they become more effective for us.
The mind creating a physical response to an unrecognised mental or emotional stress.
If our mind refuses to pay attention to, or is unaware of, underlying stress or anxiety then it is common for a person to develop a body symptom.
Somatization is defined as the tendency to experience psychological distress in the form of physical symptoms. Commonly experienced as migraines, acid reflex, difficulty swallowing, these are debilitating and distressing. The initial route to treatment for this type of ailment is to seek medical advice, yet once tests are carried out and reassurance is given that there isn’t a medical issue then it’s necessary to look at what could be causing the mind to manifest these symptoms. Alongside the subconscious cause there will also be supporting habits, usually of avoidance or over compensating which will also need to be worked with and changed.