To lead or not to lead

Ten reasons why therapists find it tricky to make suggestions

‘I suggest that you.. ’ is something I rarely say to clients. This is an example of therapist directivity that sits toward one end of the continuum. If you are deciding how much you want to be led by your therapist – how directive an approach you want – the following may help. For the purposes of this piece, I’m defining directivity as the ‘I suggest’ kind of comment.

Here are 10 reasons why I don’t tend to direct clients – and some exceptions. Continue reading “To lead or not to lead”

Disclosure – and a Great Dane

This is not a ‘ten ways to be more mindful during lockdown’ article. I considered writing something similar given that these have their place; and at the same time I’m cautious of endorsing a ‘quick fix’ mentality.

So, this is me unpicking the relationship between self-disclosure and peace, instead. I choose this topic because this is ultimately what many clients are grappling with: the fear of being – and showing – themselves. Of disclosure. The great Dane-ish philosopher Soren Kierkengaard said that an individual’s deepest despair lies in choosing to be another than themselves. Continue reading “Disclosure – and a Great Dane”

10 ways that talking – to a mate or therapist – can trigger helpful changes in the brain

But how does talking help?’ is a question that I’m frequently faced with, and one that I frequently struggle to answer, despite the fact that in the young and old alike, I see changes afoot on a daily basis. A lady called Bonnie Badenoch is helping put an end to my opaque responses as to how and why. Badenoch wrote a book called Being a Brain-Wise Therapist. Below I attempt to translate the basics so you may be ‘brain-wise’ yourself – if you are not already that is. Continue reading “10 ways that talking – to a mate or therapist – can trigger helpful changes in the brain”

3 common sentences that block communication – and some alternatives

Communicating is a tricky business. So many things can trigger us and block our ability to get what we need from conversations and relationships. For me it’s a process of continual learning too; and even if I’m aware of the following ‘traps’ I find it useful to be reminded. Perhaps it’s similar for you. Continue reading “3 common sentences that block communication – and some alternatives”

Focussing: 6 steps to mental health with nothing but your good self required

I know I’m relaxed when I realise I’m cutting a cherry tomato into no less than 6 pieces. What about you – what are the tell tale signs of what’s going on inside? Staying in touch with our ever-changing selves is key to mental health. You may already be on top of this. If not.. Continue reading “Focussing: 6 steps to mental health with nothing but your good self required”

Love is love: on friendship

Love is love – familial, romantic, fleeting or friendship. And love can be a bugger.

Across ten years of listening to clients, I’ve heard many speak at length about their friendships. One of the first things I ask suicidal clients is “are there are any friends in your orbit?”. This is because friendships are pivotal to our sense of community and belonging in the world. Put another way, ‘friendship is vital to human wellbeing because this form of human love gets under our skin quite as much as any other’ (Vernon 2012). Continue reading “Love is love: on friendship”