faq

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

Open discussion on Art and Mental Health

Saturday 8th September 2.30-4pm at Todmorden counselling and psychotherapy room. White rose Mill, off Rise Lane, Todmorden. OL147AA

As an addition to the exhibition of Geoff Read’s collaborative portraits we will host an open discussion broadly around the theme of expressive arts and mental health. More specifically we are interested in how people use expressive activities to understand and tolerate difficulties in their lives.

This is part of the Todmorden Open Studios 2018 event where artists across the town open their studios and invite the public to see their work and workplaces. 

Geoff’s work opens up the traditional role of artist into one of collaborator – he involves his subject in decisions about their portrait – and in some ways, this brings him closer to my role as a counsellor. He offers his skills and experience to facilitate expression, as do I. Non-verbal expression can be as important as words, so I was intrigued to see how Geoff’s work opens up these possibilities to people who may not consider themselves artists, or even creative.

 

A self-portrait can be a statement of identity and a message to the world about the subject’s experience. A person experiencing difficulties may really appreciate some help or assistance in making such a statement and through the process they may also get new perspectives or acquire strength , self-confidence and resilience.

portrait of a father feeling pride and love for his two children.

We hope you can join us to share your ideas and experiences of how expression has helped you in your life, or how you might view your role as an artist, or how you use art and non-verbal mediums to understand your experiences, or how art can be used to impact or change society…

Geoff describes his approach and ethos very well here.

Feel free to contact me via the contact page for enquiries.

 

Transactional Analysis concepts

Transactional Analysis or TA is a great way of understanding yourself and how you relate to the rest of the world. It uses simple concepts to help you understand your personality. People use it in many ways, eg to work out why they keep getting into difficult relationships, or why relationships keep stalling. They find interpersonal issue that previously seemed unchangeable can become freer, less scary or less upsetting. Some people use it in work or schools, or even to change an entire organisation. It can go deep into childhood or you can stay in the here and now to analyse your own behaviour, thoughts and feelings.

My training was based in this model of understanding personality and human relationships developed by Eric Berne. Whilst I have added other models and approaches to my work, I still enjoy the simplicity and thoroughness of TA. There are 3 youtube videos by Theramin Trees which explain the basic concepts. Books on TA cover a huge range of topics, too numerous to mention.

Conversation with Pat Ogden on body posture

A conversation between Pat Ogden of the Sensorimotor Psychotherapy Institute and Serge Prengel.   I like the way Pat speaks about the body and I feel like my way of working has some crossover with hers (although I have not trained at her Institute). I also run workshops on Body Language and non-verbal expression (see The Human Cry)

Pat Ogden: How body posture and movement can influence well-being

This is one of a series of interviews or conversations as Serge prefers to call them. I think he is an excellent interviewer who skilfully summarises what he is hearing and often helps the subject to open up and share what needs to be shared. See also https://somaticperspectives.com/

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.

 

Relational therapy

We all live continuously in relation; to others and to ourselves – we are created and shaped by our experiences of others and thus our complex and layered personality structure is formed. Therapy allows us to learn more about the workings of our unique structure and to work through problems – in relation. Relational therapy pays attention to our relationship (you and me, in the moment) as a way to observe in real time how we are reacting to being with another person. We can also then observe what is happening internally; our relationship(s) to ourself(selves).

We may look into the past or think about the future, but there are many clues in the here and now, in what happens between us. How you are in the world and what you want from life can be explored in the safe space we create each week, through openness, compassion and non-judgemental exploration.

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.

Katherin Stauffer talks about sex and power

I want to share this article because I enjoyed it and also because I think the current debate about sexual harassment is an important one. Serge Prengle is an excellent moderator of discussions and his conversations series is a useful resource for those wishing to learn about body/somatic psychotherapies.

She says; “In cases of abuse the shame that should be with the perpetrator gets transferred to the person who has been abused.” It’s a simple but important thing, a helpful reminder that part of the abuse is this co-creating of shame. This involves or invests the vulnerable party in the creation of a protector for the abuser. It maintains and reinforces the power imbalance.

Then she goes on to say sometimes there is an attempt to return this shame – for the abused person to try to shame the abuser. Which, whilst understandable and perhaps important, rarely helps either party. My question as a therapist is often – what will be helpful?

Kathrin Stauffer reflects on sex & power

 

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.