Men affected by suicide – discussion.

A free discussion group as part of the Pushing up Daisies festival 2019    May 16th at 7pm

at Todmorden Therapy, off Rise Lane, Todmorden. OL14 7AA

The death of someone close to us can be devastating and disorganising, and loss through suicide can be especially complicated.

If you have been affected by someones suicide or an attempted suicide, or if you yourself have had thoughts of ending your life, please join us for an open, non-judgemental discussion.

This group is for men because they are a group at high risk of suicide and who may also find it hard to talk about such issues. Please join us to help explore or unburden, to illuminate and understand this complex issue. Whilst the subject is serious, we often find that humour and solidarity can make these sessions uplifting and life affirming.

Link to the PUD website for map and lots of other sessions.

Telling young survivors of suicide…

This essay summarises the ideas and research in this well written and researched book Suicidal: why we kill ourselves by Jesse Bering. It speaks of the effect a suicide can have on children, and in particular, how the information about the death is handled. It resists oversimplification and instead details subtleties, evolving narratives and different possibilities, using many examples and case histories. I found it a very good read.

Clicking this link should take you to the article on the AEON website which has many interesting essays on Psychology and more.

This link for info on a men’s discussion group

Find me

I work from 2 places in Calderdale – White Rose Mill, Rise Lane, Todmorden OL147AD a ground floor space, not currently wheelchair accessible (see map below). Very close to Todmorden Train Station.

and Hebden Therapy Center, Wragley House, Valley Road, Hebden Bridge HX7 7BN – an upstairs space with a lift and accessible toilet.

Both places are quiet and comfortable with plenty of space to move around work in other ways than a traditional talking therapy, if wanted.

 

Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome

I have worked for many years with clients on the Autistic spectrum; firstly as a creative artist and then as a counsellor. I Currently work part-time with a Manchester based charity called Respect for all which provides free or low cost counselling for people on the spectrum and also for their siblings, carers, parents and partners.

It was through working as an artist with adults with learning disabilities that I realised that I wanted to train as a psychotherapist, thereby turning an aptitude into a qualified skill.

Many people, especially young people are receiving diagnoses of ASC with little or no understanding of how it might be affecting them. Counselling can be a good way of exploring these issues and gaining confidence and self-compassion.

Creativity

Creative acts can be transformative and creativity can be key to problem solving.

People speak of feeling entirely changed by the arts. Books, music and culture help shape our thoughts and articulate our feelings, often because they can operate outside of our logical brain, closer to the subconscious. But as well as the obviously artistic activities, many of our  moment-by-moment behaviours, choices and responses require creativity. As we decide what to do, or how to respond, our subconscious works to keep us safe and avoid things it has learned to fear.  As babies we learned through play and experience. Some of those lessons may have served us ok as children, but may now be holding us back. Creative thinking and creative play can help us contact those deeply held beliefs and feelings in a way that rational discussion can sometimes simply cannot access.

It’s not about artistic expression. It’s about engaging more than the cognitive imagination and helping the subconscious to merge into consciousness. Sometimes words and the rational mind need to sink into the background or soften their rational grip. This gives room for a more open perspective or relaxes the rigidity of thinking that may be needed for change to occur.

Sometimes we need to be creative in order to find a way to express or explore our thoughts, feelings or actions.

Sometimes clients and I make drawings or diagrams to represent or catch something elusive. We may come back to these scribbles and schema to help us remember the themes and layers of previous sessions. Patterns appear, symbols speak and feelings become more meaningful.

Sometimes we lay out objects to illustrate tangled relationships or a complex set of feelings. This enables a perspective, or multiple perspectives to be seen, to be layered…. and even to be challenged.

Sometimes we may need to stand tall, curl up, walk around the room or jump up and down. By changing ourselves physically we may allow different psychological perspectives to emerge.

I believe that we are all creative, through necessity. In times of distress, crisis or chaos our creativity can be soothing and so helpful.

And of course it can add humour, fun, relief or distraction where needed.

The Human Cry workshop

Free workshops on 17th May presented as part of Pushing Up Daisies 2019

Part 1 at Todmorden Therapy 12noon free (link to map below)

Part 2 upstairs at the Old Coop 3 O’clock (link to map below)

I use this phrase the human cry to evoke the wordless expression of emotions, through our voices and bodies.

Part 1 (12-2.30) focusses on the voice, it involves discussion and a low level of physical activity. The subject matter may evoke strong feelings and there will be some opportunities to share with others. No-one is required to disclose or reveal anything they do not wish to be known.

Part 2 (3.30-6pm) looks at the body and the body in motion, for those who want to explore this in more expressive ways. They may continue to look further inward and/or to physicalise through movement and vocalising. There will again be opportunities to share with others, though no-one is required to challenge themselves beyond what they feel OK with. As a therapist and workshop leader I am experienced at holding a group and I encourage people to go at their own pace.

I originally developed this workshop to explore how we manifest feelings (especially grief) in the body and the voice. However the same workshop often covers other feelings eg. joy, anger, jealousy, love etc. I use discussion and simple, reflective exercises to guide participants through body observations and safely witness their own somatic feelings – feelings held in the body and observable in the voice and the body. By doing this in a group we share our common experiences and hear a rich variety of views. I encourage safe sharing and supportive observation.

Many aspects of grief are natural, but unresolved feelings can inhabit the body in an unhealthy way. In some cases they can make us ill, angry or depressed. They may even inhibit our grief and block opportunities to share these meaningful moments with others. We may have multiple or conflicting feelings which need to be respected.

Family fallouts are common after a loss and sometimes last for decades as unresolved grief may cement grievances into hard, intractable resentments.

This work aims to develop compassion for our own complicated emotions.

This work aims to bring lightness and ease of expression or communication.

I offer an enjoyable exploration of your own voice. This is not a singing workshop and I take care not to put anyone in a situation they will find uncomfortable, even if what we may express is difficult or painful. This is not therapy but it does require some self examination. I hope it may prove helpful or valuable in your own expressive life and self-development.

What lies behind our words of grief? When words are not enough or even possible…. the body finds a way to communicate our pain, or if it cannot, where does it go?

Like a face, etched with the history of its life,so  the voice is our personal instrument, developed over the history of its use. From the first cries for breath, it’s timbre is honed by daily use, in conversation, conflict and restraint. That which is hard to express may be felt in the body and heard in the voice. Its rises and falls often say more than the words alone. 

This workshop was recently presented at the Cumbrian Conference of Transactional Analysis

To find this and lots of wonderful sessions see the Pushing up Daisies website by clicking here.

Therapy or counselling

What is the difference between therapy and counselling?

Opinions differ but I feel like therapy and counselling often overlap and I find in my work that I do both.

I understand counselling as essentially a listening process, through which people gain perspective, find a voice and share their experiences without judgement or criticism. This process can be illuminating, empowering or cathartic. Sometimes sharing your story is a first step toward changing the narrative.

In therapy the client works towards a process of change. This may involve explorations and insights, it may involve discoveries and challenges. But the process should be held safely by the therapist and the direction or purpose of change should be agreed and understood by the client, usually through an agreed contract.

In simple terms, counselling tends to be shorter, often focussed on one particular issue, whereas therapy may take longer and be more open to exploration.

Feel free to ask for clarification if you are not sure. The first session is a good time to ask questions.

Diversity and access

I welcome clients of any gender, race, ethnic background, sexuality or social class and understand that there may be issues specific to ones background that may require sensitivity to your experience. I have worked in many countries and have wide interests in other cultures. I also have many years experience of working with people with learning disabilities and Autistic Spectrum Conditions, to help them to express themselves and to take control of their life choices.

I aim to support diverse beliefs or lifestyles and would like, where possible, to support people from challenging backgrounds to assert their rights and achieve their goals.

I also can offer a limited number of clients a reduced price or variable fee to support those with limited means of income. Please feel free to ask.

Parents and carers can also benefit from counselling or therapy with someone who understands these pressures and stresses.

(I work from Todmorden – not currently wheelchair accessible) and Hebden Bridge (wheelchair accessible).

wheelchair logo
access restricted

Fees and discounts

I charge £40 per session in 2018.

Concessions and reductions are possible by agreement. Feel free to ask.

A session is about 50 minutes, but not more than an hour.

I ask that a client pay one session in advance.  Excepting emergencies, 48 hours notice is required to cancel an arranged session. Clients are charged for sessions that they fail to attend or cancel without sufficient notice.

For information on the cost of my workshops please use the enquiry form and give a brief outline of your organisation or event.