The artistic giant Anni Albers (1899 – 1994) turned to textile art as her second choice of career; options were especially limited as a woman. I was gorgeously stirred by an exhibition of her work at the Tate Modern in London, not least because her approach has kinship to the therapy world. Continue reading “What Anni Albers taught this therapist”
You may not be prime minister, but having power at all is a tricky business. I know that therapy and supervsion certainly support me to act with integrity and rigour given that I have some power from my role alone. Although the following article relates to having vast power within politics, I suspect we could all learn from this: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/jun/12/prime-minister-therapy
If you need permission to do or to be just as you are – or less – today, here’s your ticket. I love this poem – ‘Today’ by Jean Little.
TODAY I will not live up to my potential.
TODAY I will not relate well to my peer group.
TODAY I will not contribute in class.
I will not volunteer one thing.
TODAY I will not strive to do better.
TODAY I will not achieve or adjust or grow enriched
or get involved.
I will not put up my hand even if the teacher is wrong
and I can prove it.
TODAY I might eat the eraser off my pencil.
I’ll look at the clouds.
I’ll be late.
I don’t think I’ll wash.
I NEED A REST.
Yesss, I think we need a ‘return to curiosity’ as suggested in this excellent article. Not least because it may take the pressure off knowing everything in this age of information. https://www.theguardian.com/society/commentisfree/2019/mar/21/we-need-a-return-to-curiosity
These are tricky times, I think we may agree that. The political backdrop to our lives is having an unsettling effect. Add to that the inescapable force and pace of social media, and what this psychotherapist sees is anxiety aplenty.
Cue, depression. Anxiety and depression can be a dastardly duo. The good news is that addressing one will often quieten the other. They – like most mental health difficulties – may be eased by looking at both symptoms and root causes.
More good news: there are some daily choices (for most) that can support mental health and resilience. Perhaps you are already well-versed in aspiring to the below, but just in case:
1. Eat well.
2. Sleep well.
4. Be aware of what you enjoy, and do those things – small or big. Let’s assume they aren’t self-destructive please people
5. Be aware of and don’t do (too much) of what you don’t enjoy
6. Be able to say ‘no’ when needed
7. Download the ‘CALM’ or ‘Headspace’ App – and use it
Granted, some of these are biggies that you may need help with. For example, ‘being able to say no’ may open a whole conversation about how you see yourself. But oh so worth looking at – not least because these kinds of roots of difficulty often hold us back in various ways, some of which we may not even be aware of.
I find it unnatural to draw lines between anxiety, depression, roots, symptoms, etc. From nearly a decade of working with clients, I see that working with the whole person, rather than trying to compartmentalise difficulties, is beneficial. People are not linear, so neither is the therapy I offer.
I hasten to add that sometimes it’s necessary to prioritise symptoms – and I think what the NHS provides often does just that. However, this is only part of the work with anxiety, depression, and indeed mental health problems in general.
If your mental health is difficult to manage alone at the moment, symptoms or biggies or otherwise, I hope that you will seek help. The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy is a good place to start: www.bacp.co.uk . And I am contactable via the ‘contact tab’ or on 07802510491.
This morning I flicked open ‘The Collected Poems of W.B. Yeats’ – a gift from some lovely friends – and stumbled upon this beauty. It speaks to me and I hope it will you too.
Sweetheart, do not love too long:
I loved long and long,
And grew to be out of fashion
Like an old song.
All through the years of our youth
Neither could have known
Their own thought from the other’s,
We were so much at one.
But O, in a minute she changed –
O do not love too long,
Or you will grow out of fashion
Like an old song.
This article speaks to the cynic in me – yet my gratitude list is on the go. An easy way to feel a bit better? Yes please. https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2018/oct/23/is-gratitude-secret-of-happiness-i-spent-month-finding-out
This article is well worth a read. Hands up here – my subconscious tribalism, for example for causes that I deem to be ‘good’ or ‘right’, is in full swing. You? https://www.wired.com/story/sam-harris-and-the-myth-of-perfectly-rational-thought
What a corker of a term – and a concept. Coined by someone with a corker of a name: Jerold Bozarth, a big fish in the person-centred therapy world, who sadly died last month. I’m grateful to Bozarth, who posited that an empathic response could take a plethora of forms. He discerned exactly how Continue reading “What the **** is ‘idiosyncratic empathy?’”
Madness: a sane response to an insane world? The words give me a shiver; I should announce my bias now. In favour. As a psychotherapist I’m stretched and challenged further by Mullan’s work in terms of how to be with people that are pretty mentally unwell. Continue reading “Film review: Mad to be Normal (2017). Directed by Robert Mullan”